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Care Proceedings

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the proposals contained in the public law outline on (a) the time taken to complete and (b) the costs of cases coming to court. (149701)

I have been asked to reply.

The judiciary are currently seeking views on a revised public law outline, designed to reduce unnecessary delay by providing a more streamlined case management process for public law care cases. The current six case management stages, within the existing case management protocol are reduced to four. The public law outline proposals take forward a key recommendation contained in the “Review of the Child Care Proceedings System in England and Wales”, commissioned jointly by the former Department for Constitutional Affairs and the former Department for Education and Skills and published in May 2006. The review’s recommendations are intended to achieve better outcomes for children, as well as helping to ensure that resources across the family justice system are used to best effect. Reduction in unnecessary delay together with an increased emphasis on pre-proceedings preparation should contribute to a containment of costs.